In Somercotes Infant and Nursery School we believe that children learn most effectively when they are given opportunities to acquire and practice their skills in enjoyable and meaningful contexts. We attach a high priority to social, emotional and physical learning and believe that children’s learning in these areas develops effective, life – long learners.
The current National Curriculum came into effect on September 2014 and applies to all children in state maintained schools. It sets out the skills and knowledge which must be taught in each year group but does not specify how they should be taught, leaving that to each school’s judgement. In addition schools are able to individualise and enhance their curriculum to reflect their School’s characteristics and priorities.
Our curriculum, based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and The National Curriculum for Key Stage 1, provides children with a rich variety of creative, practical and stimulating learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom which enables each child to access learning appropriate to their age and stage of development.
The following outlines the broad skills, knowledge and understanding children will need to develop in each area of the curriculum.
The development of literacy skills is a basic human right – an entitlement for all pupils, and therefore the responsibility of all teachers – the whole school – in partnership with parents.
Our understanding of English incorporates speaking and listening, reading and writing. These elements of language are interdependent and integral to all learning.
English is promoted across all curriculum areas through an emphasis on quality writing in all subjects.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening plays a large role in our teaching, role play, the telling and retelling of stories, speaking and writing for different audiences and purposes, saying a sentence before writing.
We want our children to discover the joy of reading. As a school we follow the National Book Banding system as our main reading scheme through school. We teach a variety of approaches and strategies in order to encourage the individual child. In Nursery the children enjoy sharing books with staff and orally telling stories using picture books. To supplement our reading scheme we also focus on quality reading across the curriculum through our big books and library.
Children are taught shared (whole class) and guided (small group) reading as well as taking individual reading books home when they are ready to read. Each child has a reading target to work towards. They are encouraged to enjoy reading through the use of the class book areas.
Phonics is another key area within our teaching. Throughout school we are following the government’s guidance as set out in the Letters and Sounds document. All children receive 20 minutes of phonic teaching per day.
The children are encouraged to express their ideas and meaning in writing. As a school we focus on quality writing across the curriculum. Throughout school the children will write in a range of styles and for a range of purposes. Creativity in writing is nurtured and encouraged. Each child has a writing target to work towards.
We use a cursive style of handwriting across School. Children are taught both discretely and through all written work in accordance with our School Policy and Scheme.
The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. A specific area of learning within this is Mathematics which is split into the two strands of Number and Shape, Shape and Measure.
From the age of 5, school follows guidance from the National Curriculum, which is organized into year groups. Areas of learning are:
- Number – number and place value
- Number – addition and subtraction
- Number – multiplication and division
- Number – fractions
- Geometry – properties of shapes
- Geometry – position and direction
- Statistics (in Year 2 )
In Key Stage 1 we also follow the ‘Focus’ Maths scheme.
We aim to develop the children’s scientific skills through first hand experiences. Work is taught in topic units with an emphasis on the skills of scientific investigations and recording. Children are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They will begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways.
Throughout Key Stage 1 children will be taught about:
- Animals, including humans
- Living things and their habitats
- Everyday materials and their uses
- Seasonal change
Technology links to many areas of the curriculum particularly science. The children are taught to apply knowledge and skills to solve practical problems and work with a variety of materials and tools. They are encouraged to invent, design, make and evaluate their work.
In the EYFS computing is explored through the Technology section of Understanding the World. This moves into the Computing curriculum as our pupils move into Key Stage 1. Pupils are taught the key skills involved in using different technologies, including the introduction of programming and coding. They are provided with opportunities to use and apply these skills across the curriculum through the use of net books, I Pads, cameras and programmable devices such as bee bots.
History and Geography
We encourage children’s natural curiosity about themselves and their world, in order that they understand about themselves as individuals and as a member of society. We want our children to make sense of the world in which they are living and to understand and appreciate the variety and diversity within our society and the world as a whole. We aim to foster an awareness of various cultural backgrounds, and how societies and people have developed over time. Educational visits support this wherever possible.
We encourage our pupils to develop and produce creative work, to explore their ideas and to record their experiences. Children will be taught the skills that enable them to become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques. The children will have the opportunities to evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, crafts and design and to know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
Physical Education and sport within school aims to ensure that all pupils develop their competence in a broad range of physical activities. By the time the children leave us, we want the children to be confident in fundamental skills such as running, jumping, catching and throwing. We also aspire to develop their balance, agility and coordination by giving the children opportunities to apply these skills in a range of activities. Team games play an important role in both our PE and School Sport and the children are given opportunities to take part in a variety of simple tactical games. This in turn, builds on their understanding of competition and the importance of both winning and losing. The children are also given the chance to plan, create and develop simple movement patterns in dance and gymnastics based activities. Throughout these activities, the children are expected to comment and make judgement on the progress they are making, and suggest ways that they could make further improvements. We aim to have the children physically active for sustained periods of time to build on their stamina. We always promote a healthy, active lifestyle in school by providing extra-curricular activities both after school and at lunchtime, as well as two hours of quality PE each week. Children are taught of the need for physical activity to achieve this healthy lifestyle. All children are shown the importance of basic safety procedures including wearing appropriate clothing, following instructions, handling equipment, preparing for exercises and considering others.
Music is an important feature of our daily experiences in school and makes a unique contribution to the educational development of the child. Throughout their time with us, we provide the children with opportunities to perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions. We also value the importance of the voice as an instrument, and use it to perform and create different sounds and songs. The children are also given the opportunity to compose their own music with both tuned and untuned instruments, as well as their voice. The children enjoy visits from musicians and visits to see performances where music plays a key role, such as pantomime. As a school, we also provide the children with different opportunities to be involved in performance in festival celebrations, class assemblies and in our Key Stage 1 Singing Stars program.
Religious Education is taught in accordance with the Derbyshire Agreed Religious Education Syllabus and Education Reform Act. All children in school participate in a collective Act of Worship each day. Parents may withdraw their children from R.E. lessons and assemblies, if they so desire.
Sex Education is taught in accordance with the National Curriculum and the Jigsaw PSHE Scheme and in the context of the family home life of the children. We answer questions naturally and honestly, and at a level appropriate to the age, ability and understanding of the child.
The total lesson time excluding assemblies, registration and breaks is twenty two hours and five minutes per week.
If you would like more information about our school curriculum or how you can support your child at home, please speak to your child’s class teacher or do not hesitate to contact our Acting Headteacher, Mrs Sarah Gray.